A Local’s Guide to Food in West LA

Growing up in West Los Angeles has exposed me to a wide variety of food. L.A. locals are spoiled with some of the best food in the United States. So, after a little more than two decades living in this sprawling city, here are my top five restaurants.

(List is least expensive to most expensive)

1. In-N-Out

Before you ask…no, it is not overrated. In-N-Out is hands down the best fast food available to mankind. The classic #2 cheeseburger is a solid choice, but do not be afraid to explore the secret menu. My favorite variation on the secret menu is the protein style. The buns are ditched and swapped for lettuce #healthy. But the burger still has all the goods: the thousand island spread, perfectly cooked patty with melted cheese on it and of course fresh crisp lettuce and tomatoes. (pro tip: get pickles and banana peppers on it)

2. Tatsu

Brace yourself for the three hour line to get the best, most authentic ramen in your life without having to hop on a plane to Japan. Once you arrive, you order on iPads and are able to choose from a variety of bowls, while having the option to customize it to each persons’ liking. I personally like the cheeky bowl. What it contains: creamy chicken broth, noodles, a perfectly cooked egg and swap out chicken for tofu.

3. Duke’s

This restaurant propped on top of a Malibu Beach transports the visitors to Hawaii for mai tais and the best fish tacos. Duke’s has a formal dining area as well as the bare foot bar. The tiki themed bar has taco Tuesdays and hula Fridays where there is live music and hula dancers. I recommend the grilled fish tacos, nachos and the blended lava flow drink.

4. Il Pastaio

The best Italian restaurant right in the heart of Beverly Hills. This restaurant is a local favorite and has now turned into a tourist must see. Eating here guarantees a celebrity sighting. Justin Bieber is a regular eater here (they even have a dish named after him). This is by far my favorite restaurant in L.A. I take every friend that visits me to Il Pastaio. My favorites include:

SALADS

The Bresaola - cured beef, hearts of palm over a bed of arugula.

The Carciofi - artichokes over a bed of arugula, topped with the most delish lemon and olive oil dressing.

The Caprese - mozzarella cheese, tomato, and basil.

PASTAS

Scoglio - clams, scallops, shrimp mussels in an angel hair pasta with a spicy tomato sauce.

Arrabbiata - penne pasta with a spicy tomato sauce.

Paccheri alla Justin Bieber - wide rigatoni pasta in a pink sauce.

Tortelloni di Zuccaa - tortelloni filled with pumpkin and ricotta cheese in a parmesan cream sauce.

5. Nobu

First make sure it is the Malibu location. It is crucial to make reservations far in advance. This ocean front sushi restaurant/lounge/bar is in high demand. Enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean and maybe catch a glimpse of paparazzi and celebrities. Nobu is most definitely expensive, but the quality of the food and the ocean front views and breeze are priceless. I typically order the Bigeye Tuna Roll, tuna, ribeye, or shrimp mini tacos, Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, Black Cod with Miso, The bento box or Ilanka for dessert.